I am a jumper. Not someone who jumps out of airplanes or off bridges with bungee cords wrapped around me. I jump to conclusions. I take something I hear and within a matter of moments I have it figured out. I'm not correct with a lot of my assumptions, but strangely, that doesn't stop my perpetual jumping.
The surprising thing, even though I've known me for a long time, is how boldly I jump. As a black and white thinker, it's all or nothing. Although I've tried at times to incorporate shades of color, eventually I give up and start jumping again. Or as wise King Solomon said, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness" (Proverbs 26:11).
Jumping to Conclusions Hurts.
With Christmas almost upon us, I'd already started thinking about how special it was going to be with our new daughter-in-law in the family. When your children marry, no one readies you for the fact your holidays will look different. I imagined it would be like the old television reunions, such as when the Waltons got together with all the children grown with children of their own, caught up in the merriment, almost blinded by the dazzling smiles. We'd be surrounded by delectable food and experience laughter to the full. So I jumped to the conclusion that we'd share Christmas day with my son and his wife and started mentally making plans.
Then came the call.
I knew from the beginning it wasn't going to be a good conversation. My son spent a lot of time hesitating before he broke the news that we would not be spending the holiday together as a family.
After he finished his announcement, I had a choice. I could:
- ask God for grace to accept this change of plans;
- get upset.
Hindsight is so valuable, but so late. I chose number 2. I wanted to choose number 1. But having already experienced the Christmas fun in my mind, I felt as though they were ripping everything from me.
The result of my jumping to conclusions was that I hurt feelings, and not just my own. Then when I attempted to explain myself, I managed instead only to send others on a guilt trip. I have perfected this to the point I can do it even without words. (I think most mothers can!)
Fortunately, while we were able to work through that Christmas, I was reminded again it's best not to jump to conclusions. I also learned it's better and more grown-up to take responsibility for my actions, words, and thoughts. Thankfully, God provides many additional opportunities for learning that we don't get the first time around.